Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are controlled substances with a high potential for dependence and abuse. Seek medical advice and treatment if you want to discontinue the use of benzodiazepine, or if you already stopped and are suffering from withdrawal. To speak with a counselor concerning any questions you have about benzodiazepine withdrawal and detox call our 24 Hour Toll-Free Addiction Helpline (855) 904-7873.

What Are Benzodiazepines or Benzos?

Benzodiazepines, also called benzos, are a class of widely prescribed drugs used to treat anxiety, insomnia, panic disorder and convulsions. Commonly known brand names include Xanax, Valium and Restoril.
These psychoactive prescription drugs are central nervous system (CNS) depressants. They enhance the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a natural chemical in the brain. GABA is a major inhibitory neurotransmitter that decreases or “slows down” brain activity. For that reason, benzos are classified as sedatives and often referred to as depressants for their calming effect.

Commonly Prescribed and Misused Benzodiazepines

The following list contains the five most commonly prescribed benzos, which are also the brands most often found on the illicit drug market.

Brand Name (Generic Name)

Xanax (Alprazolam)
Klonopin (Clonazepam)
Valium (Diazepam)
Ativan (Lorazepam)
Restoril (Temazepam)

What Are the Symptoms and Signs of Benzodiazepine Addiction?

When used properly under a doctor’s care, benzodiazepines are safe and effective for the short term treatment of anxiety, insomnia and panic disorder. However, benzos can be addicting if used chronically. Long term use can lead to increased tolerance requiring higher doses to get the same initial effects. Users may develop a physical and psychological dependence on benzodiazepines. Even when taken under a physician’s care users can quickly become abusers and addicts.

In addition, benzos such as Xanax and Klonopin are often taken illicitly (for nonmedical purposes) by recreational drug users for the euphoric effects produced. Drug abusers frequently use benzos in combination with other drugs such as opioids and alcohol. A high risk for overdose exists when these drugs are used together, resulting in decreased heart rate and respiration that can potentially lead to death.

Signs of Benzodiazepine Addiction

  • Taking benzos in larger amounts and for longer durations than prescribed, as well as having a persistent desire to take the drug.
  • Attempting to control or stop the use of the drug without success.
  • Spending much time acquiring and using the drug, as well as recovering from negative side effects.
  • Continuing to take benzodiazepine despite experiencing psychological or physical problems caused by its use.

Symptoms of Benzodiazepine Addiction

Drowsiness Reduced inhibition
Poor coordination Impaired judgment
Blurred vision Slurred speech
Memory loss Irritability

 

Withdrawal–What Happens When You Stop Taking Benzodiazepine?

Attempting to recover from benzodiazepine addiction on your own without the help of a medical professional can be very difficult, if not dangerous. Minor withdrawal symptoms may include:

Restlessness Anxiety
Sleep problems Sweating
Difficulty in concentration Headache

 

Sudden withdrawal can result in serious medical problems for those who have used high doses over an extended period of time. More serious withdrawal signs and symptoms include:

Hallucinations Increased blood pressure
Whole-body tremors Increased heart rate
Seizures Increased body temperature

 

Benzodiazepine Addiction Help and Treatment

If you have become addicted to benzos, it is important to seek the help of trained and dedicated medical professionals. A1 Behavioral Health Services offer a variety of outpatient treatment options tailored to your specific needs starting with benzodiazepine detoxification and medically managed withdrawal. Patients will simultaneously participate in a rehabilitation program and then graduate to the support phase of treatment.

For more information call our 24 Hour Toll-Free Addiction Helpline (855) 904-7873
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Related Pages

  • Alcohol: An Overview
    • Beer, wine and liquor are the three types of beverages that we refer to as alcohol.
  • Ativan (Lorazepam)
    • Ativan can be considered a classic benzodiazepine along with Xanax and Klonopin, which are sometimes used interchangeably.
  • Benzodiazepine: An Overview of Xanax
    • Benzodiazepines are a type of drug class that are used to primarily treat anxiety, but can be used to treat other conditions as well.
  • Codeine (Opiate)
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  • Drug Overdose
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  • Dilaudid (Hydromorphone)
    • Dilaudid is the name brand of a drug called hydromorphone. It is a strong analgesic belonging to the opioid class of drugs and a derivative of morphine.
  • Fentanyl
    • Fentanyl is a powerful opioid drug prescribed by doctors to treat severe pain.
  • Methadone
    • Methadone is a long acting synthetic opioid medication. It is primarily prescribed for a couple of distinct reasons. First, Methadone is safe and effective for the treatment of heroin and other opioid addictions.
  • Opana (Oxymorphone)
    • Opana is the brand name of a medication that contains oxymorphone, which belongs to a class of drugs called opioids.
  • Opiates
    • The opiate drug class is one that is derived from the opium poppy, a plant that is commonly found in heroin and many other pain reducing medications.
  • Opiates and Opioids
    • Opiates refer to an extensive class of drugs that span from commonly prescribed pain medications to illicit drugs such as opium and heroin.
  • OxyContin (Oxycodone
    • OxyContin is a brand name of a semi-synthetic opiate, oxycodone. It is a narcotic analgesic prescribed to relieve moderate to severe chronic pain.
  • Percocet (Oxycodone)
    • Percocet is the trade name for the drug oxycodone — a semi-synthetic opioid that has twice the analgesic potency as morphine.
  • Tramadol
    • Tramadol is an opioid-like drug, which is prescribed to treat moderate to moderately severe pain. Brand name versions of tramadol include Ultram, Ultram ER and Conzip.
  • Xanax (Alprazolam)
    • Xanax is a brand name for the drug alprazolam. It belongs to a class of medications called benzodiazepines, which are sometimes referred to as tranquilizers, sedatives and depressants.

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